HELIX: Long Way To Heaven

Long Way to Heaven is the fifth studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Helix. This album was their third for Capitol Records, and the first single was “Deep Cuts The Knife.” The song received heavy airplay in the U.S., and in Canada it was added to heavy video play on Much Music. The second single released from the album was “The Kids Are All Shakin’,”a song inspired by a fan letter from Poland. This is the remastered re-release from Culture Factory.

Helix came out with this album and there were bigger expectations from the band after the success of the previous Walkin’ The Razor’s Edge (featuring the hit “Rock You”). The band was playing harder and this time they tried to fit in with the more commercially accepted metal bands with a ballad, “Deep Cuts The Knife,” that never really grabbed me then and still doesn’t do it for me. The good thing is that they had a lot of kick-ass songs on here to more than make up for that bump. The songs that I hit replay are; “Don’t Touch The Merchandise.” “The Kids Are All Shakin’,” “Ride The Rocket,” and “House On Fire.” Don’t think the other songs aren’t good, they are, but these are the ones I come back to a little more often. The album is another tightly played collection that now has the clean sound from Culture Factory and their crisp sounding remaster.

The band was riding a high and this is another rockin’ album for your collection and will still get your juices pumping after all these years. Grab a copy and relive your youth with the album turned up and a beer or three in you.

https://www.facebook.com/brian.vollmer.39

http://planethelix.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Culture-Factory-USA-161614307253980/

http://culturefactoryusa.com/

HELIX: No Rest For The Wicked

No Rest For The Wicked is Canadian heavy metal band, Helix’s third studio album, and was also their major label debut on Capitol Records. Released in 1983, it features two of the band’s biggest singles, “Heavy Metal Love” and “Never Want To Lose You.” This is the newly remastered version from Culture Factory that makes it look like the original vinyl release and greatly improves the sound.

With this album, the band went from playing more blues based hard rock, to toughening up their image and getting into leather and playing harder edged music and becoming a big time metal band with videos getting heavy rotation on Much Music, and tons of radio play. The album is tight with not one note wasted, and still as catchy as an old nickel whore with syphilis. Song after song will get you playing the air guitar and singing along to the chorus, and wishing metal was this much fun today. Of course you get the two big singles; “Heavy Metal Love” and “Never Want To Lose You,” but the album could have had more singles like “Let’s All Do It Tonight,” “No Rest for the Wicked,” and “Ain’t No High Like Rock ‘n Roll.” The band plays with conviction and he good vibes jump off the album and get burned into your ears. This is the kind of album that you would take with you on a car ride and roll the windows down, and crank it up. The remastering job has cleaned up the tracks and given them a clarity that helps bring out the raw talent and emotion that is laid down here.

An album that stands up today as good as it did over thirty years ago and makes me yearn for the days when you could turn on the radio and hear music like this coming out fresh. I’m going to take this one for a spin in the car and see if I can forget what year it is.

https://www.facebook.com/brian.vollmer.39

http://planethelix.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Culture-Factory-USA-161614307253980/

http://culturefactoryusa.com/

ACID: Acid / Maniac / Engine Beast

 

Acid were a female-fronted, cult heavy metal quintet from the early ’80s and based in Bruges, Belgium. Taking their cue from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, they featured lead singer Kate De Lombaert, Demon on lead guitar, Dizzy Lizzy on rhythm guitar, T-Bone on bass and Anvill on drums. After releasing their debut single for the legendary HM label Roadrunner in 1981, Acid recorded three slabs of pure, unadulterated heavy metal for their own Giant Records between 1982 and 1985. These albums have been reissued with band approval, their full involvement, and featuring liner notes from Acid expert and Classic Rock/Metal Hammer writer Malcolm Dome.

Acid – Acid

It hits you to the core, it touches almost every single feeling you have. Good clear lyrics, it’s right on cue with the music, with strong, multi-dimensional levels to the vocals. The vocals are emotional, but not in a bad way, but the raw emotion, the raw feelings to music, is pure rock. The album has a really fast paced tempo, but not to the point of being too fast paced for the vocals. It’s powerful, Kate is fearless, not so much in your face, but you can tell she isn’t messing about. The guitars and bass are not competing with each other; they compliment the lead, the rhythm guitar and the bass. You can hear all three and without one or the other, the feel or the sound wouldn’t be the same. Kate brings a sense of sexiness to the music, the dirty, rough, let’s roll about anywhere and do it kind, with no strings attached. This is newly released with some bonus tracks, such as “Hell On Wheels” which is really good, and really powerful. It’s a “don’t give a damn” kind of song that is pure attitude, pure kick ass. “Hooked On Metal” which is also a powerful, attitude filled song, and “Five Days Hell,” which is a demo that I think would have been good as a single, and “Women At Last” which would be good as a single as well. This album is long overdue as a re-release, it features a strong female lead, it’s hard-hitting, fast paced, multi-layered, and not flat or dull at all. Kate oozes sex appeal, an “I do as I want, don’t give a damn” attitude which fits her style and the bands. Each track keeps getting better and better, there isn’t anything negative about this album except it’s too short.  Even though this is a female lead band, this album doesn’t scream man hater, or I don’t need one, it doesn’t even scream it’s a feminist album, and it’s not overly masculine either. It’s a good match up with being masculine and pleasing to both the ones who like hard, ultra masculine bands and for the girls who “don’t need men.” It’s friendly to all that appreciates powerful, raw emotional sexy music. Kate is very confidante and she uses her sex appeal to her full advantage, it sounds like the band is taking their cues from Kate’s voice instead of the other way around.

Acid – Maniac

This album seems more constrained, more restricted, and more disciplined than the self-titled album was. The first album was more fluid, more like they were cutting their teeth with it; it was rebellious, more energetic, and wilder than this one. This album was energetic, but not as high as the other one, and this one isn’t about proving themselves to either us or to the band, it’s more about “let’s see what else we can do.” It was a good mix of vocals and music, with the lyrics being very good and clear. The vocals are emotional, nice and strong and it was restrained, but it helps with the overall feel and sound to it. The album wasn’t all over the place and neither was the music, everything was nice and tight, but it wasn’t flat, it just showed that Kate and the band knows control and knows more than one style. It shows that they aren’t one dimensional, but they have a complicated sound to them which is refreshing from the other bands who doesn’t know anything but to copy and paste the same sound to different lyrics.  Acid is different, it’s a fun album, and it’s an album with attitude. The way they did the sound in editing just gives it a nice echo effect which fits, and it just emphasis the sound of Kate’s voice in a unique way. The guitars are tight and controlled, not all over the place, not as flashy, but they do have their moments when it’s called for to make a statement. This album features three bonus tracks; “Drop Dead,” “The Day You Die,” and “Exterminator,” which is really fun and it has spoken word at the start that gives you a sense of anticipation of what the song will be like.

Acid – Engine Beast

This album is fearless, constrained, which means they have control over their music, Kate with her vocals, and Demon and Dizzy are the keys to the overall sound to the album, they can do scales like pro, they have lots of power and it seems that they are setting the pace. It’s a powerful album with lots of attitude. The first album was their cutting teeth one, the one before this one was where they knew their style, they knew how to show control and play around with other sounds, and became more confident and more comfortable in their shows, and this one is showing just what they figured out, that they can be sexy, confident, powerful, with an in your face, bad ass attitude while having fun and not taking themselves to serious. There are sixteen tracks this time, and they are all good, and all fun. “Hooked On Metal” appears twice on this album and “Hell On Wheels” appeared twice on the self-titled album. Track four is called “Big Ben” and it’s so good, Demon and Dizzy actually do chimes like clocks, and their scales are spot on, the tempo is great, the instrumental parts don’t over shadow Kate, nor does she overshadow them, it’s all balanced. The pace is fast, but not too fast to the point where Kate can’t keep up. Anvill does a really good job keeping everybody in line with the beat. The guitars, bass and drums are nicely blended, you can tell what everything is, but it’s so nice to hear a cohesive and clean piece of music. I feel like this album is the end result of years of practice, years of trial and error, years of getting it just right and by the sound of it, they have done it.

Yes, I know these are re-released albums but they sound so fresh, so good, they sound like they are being released for the first time.

Review by Amy East

ALPHA TIGER: iDentity: CD

Alpha Tiger - iDentity

ALPHA TIGER are a power metal quintet that hails from Germany and formed back in 2007 under the name SATIN BLACK, and then turned into ALPHA TIGER. They have already released a few albums before this and this sees them hitting the ground running.

After a short instrumental intro, the album starts full speed ahead with “Lady Liberty,” a powerful song with heavy guitars and a great hook, plus the outstanding vocals from singer Stephan Dietrich who hits highs that have to be heard to be believed. There is even a power ballad on here, “Closer Than Yesterday” which features beautiful keyboard playing and great vocals. One thing that really stands out is the skill the band shows on this album throughout. Peter Langforth and Alexander Backasch are amazing on guitar with great solos, David Schleif’s skill on the drums, Dirk Frei keeps the album solid with his mind-blowing bass, and of course Stephan Dietrich’s vocals on the album are amazing, with his sky-high vocal range. Other songs that really stood out were “We Won’t Take it Anymore,” “Identity,” “We Won’t Take it Anymore”, “Identity” (with a slightly melancholic chorus that really works to great effect), “Revolution in Progress” and “Scripted Reality,” but they all are really good.

This is the sound of a band that hungers for more, one that really loves what they are doing and is giving their all to their fans. They are looking for you to become a fan, and really, that should be easy with just one listen to the album.

https://www.facebook.com/AlphaTigerBand

http://www.alphatiger.de/

https://www.facebook.com/spvhannover

http://www.spv.de/

TANKARD: R.I.B.: CD

Tankard is a thrash metal band from Frankfurt Germany, founded in 1982.  Along with the bands Kreator, Destruction and Sodom, Tankard is often considered one of the “The Big Teutonic Four” of Teutonic thrash metal. They released their first record in 1986 and continue to write and record in the same vein: fast metal songs in honour of alcohol. Now they’ve released their sixteenth album and they show no sign of slowing down.

The new album continues with songs about drinking, and general goofiness…what more did you expect from them? R.I.B. stands for Rest In Beer, and of course a German band should be singing about beer. Song after song of thrash played with skill and aggression, just they way it should, no overlong wank fests, hear that Metallica, just good old party time and anger mixed together. The riffs are glorious, the solos are tight, the bass is heavy the drums pummel and the gruff vocals are perfectly suited for the devastation here. The cool thing is that there are a lot of hooks on this album as well as some grooves that you wouldn’t think could be so effectively mixed into the songs. Of course you can bang your head, stage dive, or mosh to this, but the grooves are a nice treat. I really liked “No One Hit Wonder,” “War Cry,” R.I.B. (Rest In Beer),” “Enemy Of Order,” and “Clockwise To Deadline.” The production is tight and it lets the band truly shine on this release.

After all these years Tankard shows no sign of giving up or slowing down and being a sad shadow of themselves. You know what you are getting and with so many bands trying new things out on their fans, it’s great to hear a band doing what they do and doing it well.

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http://www.tankard.info/start.html

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http://www.metalville.de/

GIRLSCHOOL: Running Wild: CD

This is the first LP to be released without original guitarist and singer Kelly Johnson playing. Founding members Kim McAulliffe (guitar / lead vocals), and Denise Dufort (drums) were joined by Gil Weston-Jones (bass) Jackie Bodimead (lead vocals / keyboards) and Cris Bonacci (guitar). This was very much a keyboard driven album aimed at US radio, and also featured a cover version of KISS’s “Do You Love Me?”. This was previously only available in the United States on vinyl, and this is the first official release for the album on CD. It also features liner notes from Classic Rock and Metal Hammer’s Malcolm Dome based on new interviews with the band.

Yes, this is the album that most fans have either never heard, or never liked, I found it to be very glossy sounding, similar to VIXEN, but it still rocked enough to be a worthy piece in my collection. The cover of KISS’s “Do You Love Me?” should have been placed later on instead of the third song in, but it has a nice crunch to it that makes it another cool cover song from these ladies. “Nowhere To Run,” “Let Me Go,” “Something For Nothing,” and “Nasty Nasty” are really good sounding rock songs that stand out on the album.”Running Wild” is a ballad and while being well done, goes on longer than it should.

There is a big difference in sound from their earlier albums, the edge has been sanded down quite a bit, but they sound like they are still enjoying themselves and really, it’s Girlschool, they rock. I would have liked to have had some bonus tracks, maybe some demos of the songs or something, but at least people have the chance to hear the album on CD for the first time.

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http://www.girlschool.co.uk/

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http://www.cherryred.co.uk/default.asp

GOTTHARD: Bang!: CD

These Swiss rockers from Lugano, Switzerland were founded in the early 1990s by vocalist Steve Lee and guitarist Leo Leoni. The current line-up is made up of Leoni, Freddy Scherer (guitar), Marc Lynn (bass), Hena Habegger (drums) and his second album as their lead vocalist is Nic Maeder, following the tragic passing of Steve Lee in a motorcycle accident in late 2010.

The album opens with an intro, and then into the heavy bluesy title track that gets the head nodding with the tight playing and the fantastic chorus. “Get Up And Move On” is another terrific uptempo track with great vocals laid over the fuzzy guitars. “Feel What I Feel” has a driving rhythm, a melodic touch, and darker vocals that work really well together. There is a blues undertone throughout the album that gives it a lot of depth and character, and the guitar playing is fantastic throughout. “C’est La Vie,” a gentle ballad that adds an accordion, which is an integral part of this song. The album closes with the epic ten minute “Thank You,” dedicated to Leoni’s recently departed mother.

With a ton of banging tracks, great production and playing, this album is going to win over some new fans and please the diehards. The band takes all of the good things from previous albums, and builds on them with this release, making this a great start for newbies and a continuation of the grand adventures of this band.

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http://www.gotthard.com/de/

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http://theendrecords.com/